Headaches can be debilitating, and no two headaches are alike! Did you know that nine out of ten Americans suffer from headaches to a varying degree? Coping with a headache can be challenging and is often possible by using over the counter medications including acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil). But using these medications too often for headaches can result in other side effects.
Research shows that chiropractic may be an effective treatment option for headaches, and it does not require the use of any drugs to resolve the problem.
What can cause your headache? It truly depends on the headache itself. They can result from food allergies, environmental stimuli, behaviors, or even stress. A very small percentage of headaches are a signal of a greater underlying physical problem, but the vast majority of headaches are primary headaches associated with mechanical problems of the neck. The fact that Americans are more sedentary than ever, coupled with more hours spent with your neck and spine in positions that are perfect for increasing joint irritation and muscle tension, yields to more neck and back pain – and more headaches. It’s simple physiology! But chiropractic can help relieve this muscle tension and reduce the frequency and severity of headaches.
According to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), there are some measures you can take to prevent headaches:
- If you spend a large amount of time in one fixed position, such as in front of a computer, on a sewing machine, typing or reading, take a break and stretch every 30 minutes to one hour. The stretches should take your head and neck through a comfortable range of motion.
- Low-impact exercise may help relieve the pain associated with primary headaches. However, if you are prone to dull, throbbing headaches, avoid heavy exercise. Engage in such activities as walking and low-impact aerobics.
- Avoid teeth clenching. This results in stress at the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) – the two joints that connect your jaw to your skull – leading to TMJ irritation and a form of tension headaches.
- Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day to help avoid dehydration, which can lead to headaches.
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